Southport confiscates sign from unlicensed business woman - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Southport confiscates sign from unlicensed business woman

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Katie Compton has been doing tours and ghost walks for 11 years as the owner of the Old South Tour Company in Southport. Katie Compton has been doing tours and ghost walks for 11 years as the owner of the Old South Tour Company in Southport.
SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) -

The City of Southport confiscated a $450 painted wooden sign from a business woman as a result of a new town policy.

Now, they're telling her to shut down her business altogether because she is in violation of city code.

Katie Compton has been doing tours and ghost walks for 11 years as the owner of the Old South Tour Company in Southport.

Historically, she's advertised solely by putting a large sign with her phone number out downtown near the waterfront; however, now it's been relocated to the back of her golf cart.

Recently, town leaders started a new policy which states that no private businesses can advertise with signs on city property. Compton said she helped write the original ordinance, but now the new policy is affecting her ability as a single mom to provide for her three year old son.

"What it does for my livelihood is it makes it null and void," said Compton. "You have actually made it to where I can't work and I can't pull it together. If I can't work, I've got major problems."

The city's code enforcement officer, Charles Drew, confiscated the sign. She later found it in a fenced in area behind town hall on North Howe Street. Compton said she was upset that she wasn't notified before he took the sign. Now, she's been asked to stop running tours because her business license has expired.

"This is not a hobby, I actually do work. This is a business," said Compton. "I worked hard for this for 11 years. I've put in time, energy, resources, effort to go to work and as much as I love it, it's got to support myself and my three year old child."

Compton says she plans to continue working in Southport, despite the fact that she's not an officially licensed business.

Drew said that if she were to get a sign permit and a business license, then she would be legal and able to operate, but right now, she is in violation.

"The city of Southport is not trying to shut her business down," said Drew. "But rather bring her in compliance so she can operate legally like all other tours."

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